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The Kakistocracy Pays Off Russia


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had been with Exxon for years before he was picked for this job in January, had been supervising a deal with Russia that was in the works when sanctions were applied against certain Russian officials in 2014 in retaliation for the annexation of the Crimea.  This deal is estimated to be worth some $500 billion or more, but it was put on hold by the sanctions.  Exxon has applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver to the sanctions in order to continue the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

The deal would help to prop up Vladimir Putin’s government, which has been in financial trouble since the price of oil dropped dramatically with the advent of fracking and other advanced drilling techniques.  With this oil money, Putin could invest more in his military without crimping his overall budget.  The financial bite of the sanctions would be undermined, which is almost as good as having the sanctions lifted completely.  The negative publicity surrounding the lifting of sanctions could be avoided by approving Exxon’s waiver request.

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